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Deja Vu: a feeling of having already experienced the present situation.

Last season when the Racers started their Illinois road trip their counterparts in the East, Belmont, lost. That momentarily put the Racers in first place of the OVC. However, Murray State was upset by SIUe.

Again this season, to start the Racers long road trip to the Land of Lincoln, the Bruins went down giving the Racers a chance at first place again tonight. Yet here they were again, losing in Charleston.

The Panthers’ Reggie Smith splashed a triple to put EIU up by eight at 23-15 and for the second straight season, the Racers were struggling at Lantz Arena.

Racers cut into the lead with back to back threes but with just over a minute left, Reggie Smith got all the way to the basket, just like he did all half and finished a lay in to get the lead back to 8.

That’s where we were at halftime.

Quick Notes from the first half:

What went wrong for Murray State:

  • Dexter Fields slipped and fell in warm ups and had to sit out to start the game.
  • Murray State got in foul trouble.
  • Both point guards air balled a three.
  • Something happened to TJ Sapp (limping)
  • Jarvis Williams got T’d up after being called for his 3rd personal (Early second half)

What went right for EIU:

  • All that was mentioned above.
  • Reggie Smith happened. 18 first half points.
  • Sherman Blanford 5 offensive rebounds. The Panthers had 8 total.

Second Half

Things didn’t look good for the Racers when Jarvis Williams headed to the bench, but down eight, Murray State began to battle back with six straight points from Cameron Payne.

It was Payne who gave the Racers the lead on a free throw with 9:42 left to play at TJ Sapp added to it with a three to push the Racer lead to six at 54-48

But once it looked like the Racers would start to run away with it, back came the Panthers.

Piotrowski tied the game with two follow dunks, the first one with some controversy.

(I’m still trying to figure out how this wasn’t basket interference.)

The second one came with zero controversy. Pitrowski came out of no where to slam one in and  EIU erased a six point deficit, tying the game at 57-57.

The lead went back and forth at the end of the game but it was the freshman, Cam Payne that came to the rescue of the Racers.

After driving to the basket to put his team up by one, the Memphis native, pulled up confidently from three with just over 20 ticks on the clock for the biggest basket of the game.

Before that shot Cam was not lighting it up from downtown. He had only hit 2 of 10 from behind the arc leading up to that point. Statistically speaking, that isn’t the shot the Racers would have wanted. But how can one argue with success?

I’ll have some more thoughts and analysis tomorrow on my new segment, “The High Five.”


The Racers didn’t make it to first place on their own. They have Eastern Kentucky to thank. Check out the Belmont – EKU Team Report, and our breakdown of key moments.

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OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall


Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19


UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24